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The Atlanta Snowpocalypse may have shown up in your comedy news feed, but if you lived there, it was quite another story.
This post is completely unrelated to the house… except that I’m basically stuck in it for a couple of days :)
As you’re probably aware, us Atlantans haven’t been having a great week. We knew the snow was coming for the southeast, and we knew that the roads aren’t prepared for it (if I remember correctly, the city has around 30 sand trucks total). Yet we chose to still go work and school when we should have canceled. It’s fun to make fun of how the city freaks out at the mere threat of snow, but this time around, we didn’t close things down like we normally do before the snow hit. We did it once we saw the snow, as if people can’t determine weather before the white flakes start falling. Schools released kids early; offices closed; and the entire city became a parking lot before 2pm on Tuesday thanks to the unexpected traffic.
I sent out this photo on Instagram just as the snow began to fall, and work released me to head home. Plenty of laughs to be had.
I took another at the sight of the first full dusting on the roads. When you don’t live in an area that gets snow, it’s almost compulsive to photograph it! Hey! Look at the weird white stuff!
I got home just fine, and was completely oblivious to people being stuck on the roads. I didn’t really see much traffic, which in hindsight, just means I got lucky. Charlie had her first discovery of snow, which was relatively uneventful; she was really cautious until she realized that she could still run around (her normal leash was frozen, so I couldn’t just let her in the backyard like usual). She ran around for over an hour and had zero success photographing or videoing it. I watched her from the warm spot in front of the sliding door in the kitchen (and doesn’t my front yard look sad in the snow? Guess I need to get to some outdoor projects in the spring).
Around 8pm, I started getting texts from everyone, including my boss, asking me if I’d gotten home safely. Um, yeah, it’s just a little snow! It was still falling, but I was fine. Then I realized my mom was stranded with several other motorists & wasn’t able to get home. People were abandoning cars. It took Dad nearly 7 hours to get home from his office (which is just a few exits down from my office). My sister and her husband were in Washington, D.C. this week, so they were fine (though couldn’t fly home, of course).
There’s already plenty of blame going around, but I think there are some pretty good explanations of what happened posted. Here is a great one. This one too.
Since I have the ability to work from home when needed, I basically continued on as I normally do; just took my laptop home. And since my personal story is somewhat uneventful, I wanted to still share a few things that I think are awesome:
- School kids were released, but their parents couldn’t get to them. And their teachers came to the rescue with food, shelter, and entertainment for worried, tired students.
- A Facebook group called Snowed Out Atlanta became a means for people who weren’t stranded to offer help to those who were. This includes preparing sandwiches, walking along the packed streets, delivering gas, and taking 4WD vehicles to rescue stranded folks all over the city. Without asking for a single bit in return.
- People were stuck in their cars for the entire day. I don’t know about you, but I would have been digging under my car seats for abandoned cough drops by hour two. Chick-fil-A employees walked up and down the crowded intersections, handing out hundreds of free sandwiches for anyone they could get to.
- People were forced to sleep in the aisles of Home Depot, CVS, and Publix. But these stores happily opened their doors to provide shelter to those in need of it. My mom was one of the stranded folks who found herself at a Racetrac gas station; they gave her free coffee and a place to sleep if needed (thankfully, she made it home by 10pm that night).
In short: yeah, it sucked, but there were some pretty awesome things that happened too. I can’t help but be thankful for the people who came together and aided others. Complete badasses who were selfless and kind-hearted.
I’m choosing to work from home for another day to give the roads a chance to clear, which should be fine by this afternoon. Until then, I’m just going to hole up in the house and raid the fridge (and make pancakes for dinner). For those of you in other areas, stay safe and warm!
Thanks for the SERIOUS laugh! In no way am I laughing at the South! I laugh because of your title, you are there, and you are saying what my husband and I were discussing last night. As mentioned yesterday, even here in MO, which can get it’s share of a few storms a season, our people freak out and RUN to the grocery store before a storm or a few inches come in. (I always feel the need to tell the cashier I had to come anyway that day and I am NOT one of the “crazys”.) I couldn’t understand how with the warning of snow to an area that never gets it, why more people wouldn’t have been on guard. I mean, the south realized that this has been a really, really, cold and snowy winter for the rest of us to date, right? So I was just surprised at how sooo many were caught “off guard”. Wouldn’t they have been yelling it from the roof tops, talking at the coffee shops of the incoming snow and ice? I explained “it’s not like in New Orleans when they didn’t know the levees would give”. I am so glad to hear so many were OK. And I would have gone frickin’ bonkers in my car that long!!! And yes, the kind people that came out to help. I got chills reading that. People really do come together to help out each other—even strangers–in times of need. That is a good thing. :)
I read your two articles about why this may have happened. It is so true. Having grown up in Northern MI it was nothing. The further south I moved the more crazy it gets if it snows. And there are not enough trucks or the resources to deal with an issue like this in areas that rarely see it. I recall living in MD and being shocked they had cancelled my daughters pre-school for 6 inches. I learned my lesson on day 2. I went into town to take my daughter to preschool, pulled into the lot and not a soul in sight!! Day 2 was too much for MD to take. I learned then to always check the weather and closures! And ice is hellish. I was 16 and driving through 4-way stops. We just waved as we went through. It was life there. I get it and as I said before–no disrespect! Hopefully, all will be more prepared next time. And my biggest concern would have been the kids/anyone who requires meds. at specific times! That is scary as a mom. PS. Sorry for the long comments today. :)
Love long comments :) Yeah, we definitely didn’t plan correctly this time. Back in 2011, it was a Sunday night when the snow fell, so everyone was already home & prevented the huge issue like we had this week. Our city doesn’t budget for such a rare activity. So, best to have just all stayed home instead of (incorrectly) assuming we could just head home if things got bad.
Your title cracked me up. Yes, Atlants, you were the butt of many a Canadian newscast’s jokes last night. But true to form, southern hospitality ruled the day. I loved that part, thanks for sharing (even if you cannot share the pancakes).
Yeah, hopefully they all didn’t make the (incorrect) assumption that it was the snow that caused most of our problem; it was the assumption that EVERYONE in the city could all head home at the exact same hour. Chaos. Poor planning; next time I’m sure the city will just shut things down instead of leaving it to chance like this time. Glad I left the office when I did & didn’t get stuck behind overturned semis too!
Yeah, me again. My husband was in DC last week for the 8″ they got in one day. I asked if they shut down the gov’t and sent everyone home. (He used to work for the gov’t there.) He said that they told everyone to stay home and not come into work the day BEFORE….because…sending everyone home at once out of DC on the day OF would be pure GRIDLOCK. Yep, that was probably the worst of it Sarah. (You would think I was snowed in here the way I keep coming back to jabber! :P )
Wow! I am just amazed by this. I live near LA – SoCal is NOTORIOUS for freaking out at a few inches of RAIN, much less snow (STORM WATCH 2014!!!!!!). And we get bad traffic during every little drizzle. But I still have a hard time imagining that it would get THAT bad during a little snow (and it does happen once a decade or so). Haha :) I’m glad you made it out in the nick of time and avoided that all, and it’s refreshing to hear there were so many kind people helping out. By the way, I know exactly what you mean about being compelled to photograph everything when it snows. I’m in the desert above LA so precipitation in general is pretty rare, but the desert gets SO pretty when it snows :) Probably not in the cards this year, though – it’s currently mid-70s and approaching 80 this weekend =P
So glad you and your parents were all ultimately safe and home! Yes, I got a chuckle up here in New England, but I am very aware how slippery a couple of inches of snow/ice can be even if you are used to it as I am. I’m sure there’s multiple ways this could’ve been different and the powers that be seem to be discussing better ways. Next time around will be better, I believe! I did read the articles of the selflessness and generosity of many people that stepped out and up and that warmed my heart!
I grew up in Northeast Kansas and when I moved to Austin Texas could not believe they barricade the highway. But seriously they have NO SAND SALT etc so what else could they do? We were literally sent home if they thought it might get bad. Better safe than sorry and it has been a freaky frustrating winter for almost everyone.
As a fellow ATLian, it wasn’t just that it snowed, it ICED. Ugh, every time it snows in GA, if it sticks, it will become ice. It’s like the mayor and governor both forgot that. Of course, they were at an award luncheon at 12PM on Tuesday, according to CBS. #ATLfail
You’re so right, V, and I think that’s what most folks who deal with snow on a regular basis in other regions don’t get It was almost 60 degrees here the day before. The ground was warm; the air was cold. Snow up north falls on cold ground and stays snow. Snow down here falls on warm ground and within minutes it melts then FREEZES then gets covered up with an innocent-looking layer of snow that people thing they should be able to drive on. (When in actuality, they’d have better luck with ice skates.) Any of us who have lived here any length of time (especially if we were here in 1982) probably know that.
We ATLians know we’re not equipped to deal with it, which is why the entire metro area almost always shuts down proactively if we hear that it’s coming. The problem is, everything shut down for basically nothing a couple of weeks ago, to howls of protest and (as always) ridicule. And precious snow days had been burned. I think that’s why the counties north of Coweta, Clayton and Henry gambled on the “light dusting” and basically got caught with their pants down by not shutting down the schools. I live in Troup, and it was expected to be bad down there, but my office in Fayette Co was open. I left before our office (and most Atlanta businesses and schools) closed, because I knew LaGrange was experiencing the dangerous combo of sleet and freezing rain. I can attest that even by noon after only an hour or so of a very “light dusting” of snow, the roads were already iced, especially on bridges and hills–of which there are many across the metro area. It’s just what happens here.
Thanks so much, Sarah, for focusing on the good. Southern hospitality rocks.
What a nightmare! Glad it wasn’t too big of a hassle for you. Phew!
I grew up in Minnesota…but lived in Atlanta for seven years (college and the start of my teaching career), so I wasn’t laughing. I know how that city shuts down normally and was surprised they didn’t this time.
I remember when they closed school early and we got a dusting of snow. Literally, a dusting. That was all that they were supposed to get, and all that they got, but my coworkers were panicking over not having shovels. It was so light that the wind was blowing it across the street and there was literally NOTHING to shovel.
Now, the ice storm during the Super Bowl in 2000? That was a MESS. An impressive one.
And remember: northerners may laugh, but when I was a kid, if the temperature broke 90 or 100 it was news. People die from the heat in northern cities all the time during the summer, and cities suffer from brownouts due to the ACs running.
two inches!?! Wow. I live in north Denver and we just got 7.5 inches this morning. I don’t take the highway when it snows because even here people drive stupid… but not like this!
I moved to Colorado from Albuquerque, NM in 1997 when I was a kid. The weekend we moved Palmer Lake Colorado (my hometown) got 56 inches of snow!! That was in October and we didn’t see the ground again until June.
I’m in Bartow county and I JUST got my car home on Friday. The ice still has not completely melted on my street, but enough for me to slide to my driveway. Don’t you think it’s nuts that there is even a mild possibility that we will do this all over again next week?!?!
I have family in Atlanta and some in Alabama, so I had already heard quite a bit about the pandemonium. I felt quite sorry for all my Southern friends and family, or at least, I did until I read your post. I live in NW Illinois and snow is common, even blizzards, but occasionally, we get a really enormous snowfall–think 22″ in 6 hours. Do you know what happens here when that occurs? The roads can’t be cleared (too much snow, too fast), people wreck their cars and get stranded, the power goes out from ice on the lines . . . . but more importantly, random passers-by charge people to haul their cars out of the snow banks and hotels raise their nightly fees to take advantage of the motorists kept away from home by closed roads. Seriously. Both of those things have happened to my husband when he was trying to get home from work. He has spent two full nights stuck in gas stations, one of them while soaking wet from falling in an icy drainage ditch. Apparently, Southern hospitality really IS a thing. Be happy you don’t live in Illinois.
Wow, I had no idea!
I live and work in the “A”…. I live about 7 miles from my job at Emory. My husband works at GSU. We left work at 1 pm that day…. took me 7 house to drive those 7 miles. Hubby didn’t get home until the next morning. He refused to leave his car on the side of the road. We were both off a week because of the “blizzard”. We are from NY and NJ. We found the entire thing ridiculous.